The Supporters' Shield, given annually to the Major League Soccer team with the best regular-season record, will not be awarded in 2020.
The decision was reached by the Supporters' Shield Foundation, which gives out the award on behalf of the Independent Supporters Council. The honor was created by supporters in the formative years of MLS and awarded in 1998 for the first time.
"After much consideration and discussion, the Supporters' Shield Foundation has decided to forego awarding the Supporters' Shield for the 2020 season," the organization said in a statement. "This is not an easy decision to make. With the inability for supporters to be in attendance and fill their stadiums with passion, however, we feel as though the current climate goes against the spirit of the Shield.
"The Supporters' Shield Foundation stands with our players and our supporters in knowing that this year has been one of many challenges, and we commend the support and effort given to making the best of the 2020 season as it has been."
MLS addressed the decision in its own statement.
"Everyone involved in MLS understands that the 2020 season -- like every major professional sports league -- was unprecedented in our history. The club that finishes at the top of our regular season will have persevered through a highly challenging year," the league said. "Most of all, the millions of people who follow and support our league, teams and players will always remember the club that finished as 2020 MLS regular season leader."
Toronto FC (38 points) have the best regular-season record, ahead of the Philadelphia Union (35 points). Both teams have clinched a playoff berth.
Five teams have won the Supporters' Shield multiple times: Los Angeles Galaxy and D.C. United (four), Columbus Crew SC and New York Red Bulls (three) and San Jose Earthquakes (two). The Supporters' Shield winner has gone on to win the MLS Cup seven times.
--Field Level Media